Australia’s northern tip and endless outback are two frontiers of sublime beauty, contrasting pretty shorelines and tropical verdure with indigenous culture and world-famous icons. You’ll start in Darwin to take in the laid-back seaside life before checking into a luxury tented camp in the Mary River Wetlands. A rabbit warren of twisting waterways and dense forests, cruises and guided walks will highlight its unique natural beauty and diverse collection of wildlife. You’ll then fly into Alice Springs in Australia’s famed Red Centre, a gold rush town with a stunning setting, rich history and richer Aboriginal culture. End with a stay in Uluru’s premier accommodation, with guided walks, cultural talks and the chance to taste the country’s fine wines over sunset views of this national treasure.
Days 1-2: Depart UK
Board your flight to the other side of the world, arriving in Darwin on day three.
Days 3-4: Darwin
You’ll have two days to get acquainted with the Aussie way of life in Darwin, Australia’s ‘Tropical City’. Closer to Indonesia’s paradise islands than its own capital, here the shoreline sunsets are magical, the galleries host the best in indigenous art and the café culture rules the pavements. After enjoying the resort facilities of your hotel, perhaps take some time to explore the surrounding natural world, with national-park walks on your doorstep and fishing cruises departing for nearby islands.
Days 5-7: The Mary River Wetlands
Pick up your hire car to head inland to the Mary River Wetlands and check into your luxe safari tent –its timber-panelled chic is a contemporary contrast to its bushland setting. From here you’ll head out to explore the region’s emerald-green woodlands, criss-crossed by weaving waterways and home to an abundance of tropical wildlife. A full day tour – with lunch included – will bring you into Kakadu, a World Heritage national park where vast, escarpment-studded floodplains feature ancient rock art, myriad birdlife and walks that bring you to scenic overlooks and wild crocodiles. You’ll also be treated to a cruise along Home Billabong, a glassy lake fringed by dense greenery in the depths of the wetlands. It’s the idyllic habitat for a kaleidoscope of birdlife and wildflowers. And, come each evening, you’ll return to gourmet dining of only locally sourced produce; think prime cuts of beef and expertly grilled barramundi fish.
Days 8-9: Alice Springs
Return to Darwin to catch a flight into Australia’s heartlands – the spectacular Red Centre. Your introductions will be made in Alice Springs, an enchanting town with a vibrant indigenous community. It’s also a true frontier settlement, something evidenced on your tour of its highlights. There’s the historic Telegraph Station that brought communication to this remote outpost, the alien inhabitants of the Alice Springs Reptile Park and the Royal Flying Doctor Service that provides vital support to this day. End your tour with a spectacular view of Alice Springs and its mountainous surrounds from the top of Anzac Hill. And, with the town some 1,500 km from the nearest city, it’s an ideal spot for stargazing.
Stay: Mercure Alice Springs (Standard)
Days 10-11: Uluru
Travelling through the Outback’s endless desert landscapes, a luxury coach will bring you – via camel farms, mountain views and rest stops – to your five-star accommodation. All sweeping modernist curves, it’s a stunning contrast to the region’s barren beauty. In the afternoon, your indigenous guide will bring you on an informative walk to the very base of Uluru, unveiling the mysteries behind the region’s rich, cultural significance. You’ll then, at sunset, watch as this giant monolith erupts in a rainbow of colours over drinks and canapés at a specially chosen viewpoint. The next day, rise early to drink in Uluru’s sunrise over tea and coffee before travelling to Kata Tjuta. Every bit its famous neighbour’s equal, these 36 grand domes of shocking red rock formations make for spectacular views. You’ll head right among them on a walking trail that follows the natural creek between two of the tallest.
Days 12-13: Depart for UK
Make your way to the airport to board your overnight flight home.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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